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[Online] Tunnel Engineering

Guest Editors-in-Chief 
Mengshu Wang, Chinese Academy of Engineering, China
Martin C Knight, CH2M, UK
Executive Associate Editors
Jinxiu Yan, China Railway Academy, China
Ray L Sterling, Louisiana Tech University, US
Baosong Ma, China University of Geosciences (Wu Han), China
Chungsik Yoo, Sung Kuyn Kwan University, South Korea
Daniele Peila, Politecnico di Torin, Italy
Ed Taylor, John Holland, Australia
Einar Broch, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Eric Leca, Arcardis, France
Hongwei Huang, Tongji University, China
Huawu He,Chinese Academy of Engineering, China
Kairong Hong, State Key Laboratory of Shield Machine and Boring Technology, China
Markus Thewes, Ruhr-Universit?t Bochum, Germany
Matthias Neuenschwander, Neuenschwander Consulting Engineers, Switzerland
Mingliang Pan,China Railway Tunnel Group Co., Ltd, China
Randall J. Essex, Mott MacDonald, US
Rick Lovat, Independent Expert, Canada
Tarcisio Celestino, Themag Engenharia, Brazil
Yonghong Wang, Beijing Jiaotong University, China
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The Undersea Tunnel on Qingdao Metro Line 8
Weiguo He, Peng Liu
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 167-169.
Abstract   PDF (775KB)
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The Longest Railway Tunnel in China
Haibo Zhang, Changyu Yang
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 165-166.
Abstract   PDF (692KB)
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The Ceneri Base Tunnel: Construction Experience with the Southern Portion of the Flat Railway Line Crossing the Swiss Alps
Davide Merlini, Daniele Stocker, Matteo Falanesca, Roberto Schuerch
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 235-248.
Abstract   PDF (8386KB)

This paper summarizes the experience that was gained during the construction of the 15.4 km long Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT), which is the southern part of the flat railway line crossing the Swiss Alps from north to south. The project consisted of a twin tube with a diameter of 9 m interconnected by crosspassages, each 325 m long. In the middle of the alignment and at its southern end, large caverns were excavated for logistical and operational requirements. The total excavation length amounted to approximately 40 km. The tunnel crossed Alpine rock formations comprising a variety of rock typologies and several fault zones. The maximum overburden amounted to 850 m. The excavation of the main tunnels and of the cross-passages was executed by means of drill-and-blast (D&B) excavation. The support consisted of bolts, meshes, fiber-reinforced shotcrete and, when required, steel ribs. A gripper tunnel boring machine (TBM) was used in order to excavate the access tunnel. The high overburden caused squeezing rock conditions, which are characterized by large anisotropic convergences when crossing weaker rock formations. The latter required the installation of a deformable support. At the north portal, the tunnel (with an enlarged cross-section) passed underneath the A2 Swiss highway (the major road axis connecting the north and south of Switzerland) at a small overburden and through soft ground. Vertical and subhorizontal jet grouting in combination with partial-face excavation was successfully implemented in order to limit the surface settlements. The south portal was located in a dense urban area. The excavation from the south portal included an approximately 220 m long cut-and-cover tunnel, followed by about 300 m of D&B excavation in a bad rock formation. The very low overburden, poor rock quality, and demanding crossing with an existing road tunnel (at a vertical distance of only 4 m) required special excavation methods through reduced sectors and special blasting techniques in order to limit the blast-induced vibrations. The application of a comprehensive risk management procedure, the execution of an intensive surface survey, and the adaptability of the tunnel design to the encountered geological conditions allowed the successful completion of the excavation works.

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Long Undersea Tunnels: Recognizing and Overcoming the Logistics of Operation and Construction
Gareth Mainwaring, Tor Ole Olsen
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 249-253.
Abstract   PDF (1245KB)

Long undersea tunnels, and particularly those that are built for transportation purposes, are not commonplace infrastructure. Although their planning and construction take a considerable amount of time, they form important fixed links once in operation. The fact that these tunnels are located under the sea generally involves unique challenges including complex issues with construction and operations, which relate to the lack of intermediate access points along the final route of the tunnel. Similar issues are associated with long under-land tunnels, such as those under mountain ranges such as the Alps. This paper identifies the key issues related to the design and construction of such tunnels, and suggests a potential solution using proven technology from another engineering discipline.

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Upper Lillooet River Hydroelectric Project: The Challenges of Constructing a Power Tunnel for Run-of-River Hydro Projects in Mountainous British Columbia
Nichole Boultbee, Oliver Robson, Serge Moalli, Rich Humphries
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 260-266.
Abstract   PDF (2586KB)

The Upper Lillooet River Hydroelectric Project (ULHP) is a run-of-river power generation scheme located near Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada, consisting of two separate hydroelectric facilities (HEFs) with a combined capacity of 106.7 MW. These HEFs are owned by the Upper Lillooet River Power Limited Partnership and the Boulder Creek Power Limited Partnership, and civil and tunnel construction was completed by CRT-ebc. The Upper Lillooet River HEF includes the excavation of a 6 m wide by 5.5 m high and approximately 2500 m long tunnel along the Upper Lillooet River Valley. The project is in a mountainous area; severe restrictions imposed by weather conditions and the presence of sensitive wildlife species constrained the site operations in order to limit environmental impacts. The site is adjacent to the Mount Meager Volcanic Complex, the most recently active volcano in Western Canada. Tunneling conditions were very challenging, including a section through deposits associated with the most recent eruption from Mount Meager Volcanic Complex (~2360 years before the present). This tunnel section included welded breccia and unconsolidated deposits composed of loose pumice, organics (that represent an old forest floor), and till, before entering the underlying tonalite bedrock. The construction of this section of the tunnel required cover grouting, umbrella support, and excavation with a combination of roadheader, hydraulic hammer, and drilling-and-blasting method. This paper provides an overview of the project, a summary of the key design and construction schedule challenges, and a description of the successful excavation of the tunnel through deposits associated with the recent volcanic activity.

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Key Techniques for the Construction of High-Speed Railway Large-Section Loess Tunnels
Yong Zhao, Huawu He, Pengfei Li
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 254-259.
Abstract   PDF (819KB)

The successful completion of the Zhengzhou–Xi’an high-speed railway project has greatly improved the construction level of China’s large-section loess tunnels, and has resulted in significant progress being made in both design theory and construction technology. This paper systematically summarizes the technical characteristics and main problems of the large-section loess tunnels on China’s high-speed railway, including classification of the surrounding rock, design of the supporting structure, surface settlement and cracking control, and safe and rapid construction methods. On this basis, the key construction techniques of loess tunnels with large sections for high-speed railway are expounded from the aspects of design and construction. The research results show that the classification of loess strata surrounding large tunnels should be based on the geological age of the loess, and be determined by combining the plastic index and the water content. In addition, the influence of the buried depth should be considered. During tunnel excavation disturbance, if the tensile stress exceeds the soil tensile or shear strength, the surface part of the sliding trend plane can be damaged, and visible cracks can form. The pressure of the surrounding rock of a large-section loess tunnel should be calculated according to the buried depth, using the corresponding formula. A three-bench seven-step excavation method of construction was used as the core technology system to ensure the safe and rapid construction of a large-section loess tunnel, following a field test to optimize the construction parameters and determine the engineering measures to stabilize the tunnel face. The conclusions and methods presented here are of great significance in revealing the strata and supporting mechanics of large-section loess tunnels, and in optimizing the supporting structure design and the technical parameters for construction.

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Conception and Exploration of Using Data as a Service in Tunnel Construction with the NATM
Bowen Du, Yanliang Du, Fei Xu, Peng He
Engineering    2018, 4 (1): 123-130.
Abstract   PDF (3251KB)

The New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) has been widely used in the construction of mountain tunnels, urban metro lines, underground storage tanks, underground power houses, mining roadways, and so on. The variation patterns of advance geological prediction data, stress–strain data of supporting structures, and deformation data of the surrounding rock are vitally important in assessing the rationality and reliability of construction schemes, and provide essential information to ensure the safety and scheduling of tunnel construction. However, as the quantity of these data increases significantly, the uncertainty and discreteness of the mass data make it extremely difficult to produce a reasonable construction scheme; they also reduce the forecast accuracy of accidents and dangerous situations, creating huge challenges in tunnel construction safety. In order to solve this problem, a novel data service system is proposed that uses data-association technology and the NATM, with the support of a big data environment. This system can integrate data resources from distributed monitoring sensors during the construction process, and then identify associations and build relations among data resources under the same construction conditions. These data associations and relations are then stored in a data pool. With the development and supplementation of the data pool, similar relations can then be used under similar conditions, in order to provide data references for construction schematic designs and resource allocation. The proposed data service system also provides valuable guidance for the construction of similar projects

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Research on Combined Construction Technology for Cross-Subway Tunnels in Underground Spaces
Xiangsheng Chen
Engineering    2018, 4 (1): 103-111.
Abstract   PDF (3241KB)

Given the increasingly notable segmentation of underground space by existing subway tunnels, it is difficult to effectively and adequately develop and utilize underground space in busy parts of a city. This study presents a combined construction technology that has been developed for use in underground spaces; it includes a deformation buffer layer, a special grouting technique, jump excavation by compartment, back-pressure portal frame technology, a reinforcement technique, and the technology of a steel portioning drum or plate. These technologies have been successfully used in practical engineering. The combined construction technology presented in this paper provides a new method of solving key technical problems in underground spaces in effectively used cross-subway tunnels. As this technology has achieved significant economic and social benefits, it has valuable future applications.

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Challenges and Thoughts on Risk Management and Control for the Group Construction of a Super-Long Tunnel by TBM
Mingjiang Deng
Engineering    2018, 4 (1): 112-122.
Abstract   PDF (2965KB)

The total length of the second stage of the water supply project in the northern areas of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is 540 km, of which the total length of the tunnels is 516 km. The total tunneling mileage is 569 km, which includes 49 slow-inclined shafts and vertical shafts. Among the tunnels constructed in the project, the Ka–Shuang tunnel, which is a single tunnel with a length of 283 km, is currently the longest water-conveyance tunnel in the world. The main tunnel of the Ka–Shuang tunnel is divided into 18 tunnel-boring machine (TBM) sections, and 34 drilling-and-blasting sections, with 91 tunnel faces. The construction of the Ka–Shuang tunnel has been regarded as an unprecedented challenge for project construction management, risk control, and safe and efficient construction; it has also presented higher requirements for the design, manufacture, operation, and maintenance of the TBMs and their supporting equipment. Based on the engineering characteristics and adverse geological conditions, it is necessary to analyze the major problems confronted by the construction and systematically locate disaster sources. In addition, the risk level should be reasonably ranked, responsibility should be clearly identified, and a hierarchical-control mechanism should be established. Several techniques are put forward in this paper to achieve the objectives mentioned above; these include advanced geological prospecting techniques, intelligent tunneling techniques combined with the sensing and fusion of information about rock parameters and mechanical parameters, monitoring and early-warning techniques, and modern information technologies. The application of these techniques offers scientific guidance for risk control and puts forward technical ideas about improving the efficiency of safe tunneling. These techniques and ideas have great significance for the development of modern tunneling technologies and research into major construction equipment.

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Island Megalopolises: Tunnel Systems as a Critical Alternative in Solving Transport Problems
Vladimir V. Makarov
Engineering    2018, 4 (1): 138-142.
Abstract   PDF (935KB)

A principal difficulty with island megalopolises is the transport problem, which results from limited surface land on an already developed island, on which roads and car parking can be placed. This limitation leads to traffic jams on the small number of roads and to intrusive car parking in any available surface location, resulting in safety issues. The city of Vladivostok is located on the Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula in the Russia Far East region (the Primorsky Krai). This city is essentially the third capital of Russia because of its important geopolitical location. To address the car traffic problems in Vladivostok, and because of the absence of places to build new roads, the city administration has proposed the usage of the beaches and waterfronts along the sea coast in this regard. This decision is in sharp conflict with Vladivostok’s ecological and social aspirations to be recognized as a world-class city. It also neglects the lessons that have been learned in many other waterfront cities around the world, as such cities have first built aboveground waterfront highways and later decided to remove them at great expense, in order to allow their citizens to properly enjoy the environmental and historical assets of their waterfronts. A key alternative would be to create an independent tunneled transport system along with added underground parking so that the transport problems can be addressed in a manner that enhances the ecology and livability of the city. A comparison of the two alternatives for solving the transport problem, that is, underground versus aboveground, shows the significant advantages of the independent tunnel system. Complex efficiency criteria have been developed in order to quantify the estimation of the alternative variants of the Vladivostok transport system. It was determined that the underground project is almost 1.8 times more advantageous than the aboveground alternative.

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A Closer Look at the Design of Cutterheads for Hard Rock Tunnel-Boring Machines
Jamal Rostami, Soo-Ho Chang
Engineering    2017, 3 (6): 892-904.
Abstract   PDF (5003KB)

The success of a tunnel-boring machine (TBM) in a given project depends on the functionality of all components of the system, from the cutters to the backup system, and on the entire rolling stock. However, no part of the machine plays a more crucial role in the efficient operation of the machine than its cutterhead. The design of the cutterhead impacts the efficiency of cutting, the balance of the head, the life of the cutters, the maintenance of the main bearing/gearbox, and the effectiveness of the mucking along with its effects on the wear of the face and gage cutters/muck buckets. Overall, cutterhead design heavily impacts the rate of penetration (ROP), rate of machine utilization (U), and daily advance rate (AR). Although there has been some discussion in commonly available publications regarding disk cutters, cutting forces, and some design features of the head, there is limited literature on this subject because the design of cutterheads is mainly handled by machine manufacturers. Most of the design process involves proprietary algorithms by the manufacturers, and despite recent attention on the subject, the design of rock TBMs has been somewhat of a mystery to most end-users. This paper is an attempt to demystify the basic concepts in design. Although it may not be sufficient for a full-fledged design by the readers, this paper allows engineers and contractors to understand the thought process in the design steps, what to look for in a proper design, and the implications of the head design on machine operation and life cycle.

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Typical Underwater Tunnels in the Mainland of China and Related Tunneling Technologies
Kairong Hong
Engineering    2017, 3 (6): 871-879.
Abstract   PDF (4415KB)

In the past decades, many underwater tunnels have been constructed in the mainland of China, and great progress has been made in related tunneling technologies. This paper presents the history and state of the art of underwater tunnels in the mainland of China in terms of shield-bored tunnels, drill-and-blast tunnels, and immersed tunnels. Typical underwater tunnels of these types in the mainland of China are described, along with innovative technologies regarding comprehensive geological prediction, grouting-based consolidation, the design and construction of large cross-sectional tunnels with shallow cover in weak strata, cutting tool replacement under limited drainage and reduced pressure conditions, the detection and treatment of boulders, the construction of underwater tunnels in areas with high seismic intensity, and the treatment of serious sedimentation in a foundation channel of immersed tunnels. Some suggestions are made regarding the three potential great strait-crossing tunnels—the Qiongzhou Strait-Crossing Tunnel, Bohai Strait-Crossing Tunnel, and Taiwan Strait-Crossing Tunnel—and issues related to these great strait-crossing tunnels that need further study are proposed.

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Universal Method for the Prediction of Abrasive Waterjet Performance in Mining
Eugene Averin
Engineering    2017, 3 (6): 888-891.
Abstract   PDF (281KB)

Abrasive waterjets (AWJs) can be used in extreme mining conditions for hard rock destruction, due to their ability to effectively cut difficult-to-machine materials with an absence of dust formation. They can also be used for explosion, intrinsic, and fire safety. Every destructible material can be considered as either ductile or brittle in terms of its fracture mechanics. Thus, there is a need for a method to predict the efficiency of cutting with AWJs that is highly accurate irrespective of material. This problem can be solved using the energy conservation approach, which states the proportionality between the material removal volume and the kinetic energy of AWJs. This paper describes a method based on this approach, along with recommendations on reaching the most effective level of destruction. Recommendations are provided regarding rational ranges of values for the relation of abrasive flow rate to water flow rate, standoff distance, and size of abrasive particles. I also provide a parameter to establish the threshold conditions for a material’s destruction initiation based on the temporary-structural approach of fracture mechanics.

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Key Technologies and Applications of the Design and Manufacturing of Non-Circular TBMs
Jianbin Li
Engineering    2017, 3 (6): 905-914.
Abstract   PDF (4190KB)

With the rapid development of the exploitation of underground space, more and more large- or superlarge-diameter tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) are being employed to construct underground space projects. At present, because conventional circular TBMs cannot completely meet the requirements of underground space exploitation regarding the cross-section and space-utilization ratio, non-circular TBMs, which are the tunneling equipment for an ideal cross-section, have become the new market growth point. This paper first presents the technical features and development status of non-circular TBMs. Next, in reference to typical projects and technological innovation, this paper investigates key techniques including shield design optimization, multi-cutterhead excavation, special-shaped segment erection, and soil conditioning in loess strata for a rectangular pipe-jacking machine and a horseshoe-shaped TBM, in order to provide a set of feasible solutions for the design, manufacture, and construction of non-circular TBMs. Relevant engineering practice shows that non-circular TBMs with customized design and manufacture have great advantages in terms of construction schedule, settlement control, and space utilization.

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Lake Mead Intake No. 3
Jon Hurt, Claudio Cimiotti
Engineering    2017, 3 (6): 880-887.
Abstract   PDF (1872KB)

As a result of a sustained drought in the Southwestern United States, and in order to maintain existing water capacity in the Las Vegas Valley, the Southern Nevada Water Authority constructed a new deepwater intake (Intake No. 3) located in Lake Mead. The project included a 185 m deep shaft, 4.7 km tunnel under very difficult geological conditions, and marine works for a submerged intake. This paper presents the experience that was gained during the design and construction and the innovative solutions that were developed to handle the difficult conditions that were encountered during tunneling with a dualmode slurry tunnel-boring machine (TBM) in up to 15 bar (1 bar= 105 Pa) pressure. Specific attention is given to the main challenges that were overcome during the TBM excavation, which included the mode of operation, face support pressures, pre-excavation grouting, and maintenance; to the construction of the intake, which involved deep underwater shaft excavation with blasting using shaped charges; to the construction of the innovative over 1200 t concrete-and-steel intake structure; to the placement of the intake structure in the underwater shaft; and to the docking and connection to an intake tunnel excavated by hybrid TBM.

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Mechanized Tunneling in Soft Soils: Choice of Excavation Mode and Application of Soil-Conditioning Additives in Glacial Deposits
Rolf Zumsteg, Lars Langmaack
Engineering    2017, 3 (6): 863-870.
Abstract   PDF (2232KB)

The history of the formation of the alpine region is affected by the activities of the glaciers, which have a strong influence on underground works in this area. Mechanized tunneling must adapt to the presence of sound and altered rock, as well as to inhomogeneous soil layers that range from permeable gravel to soft clay sediments along the same tunnel. This article focuses on past experiences with tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) in Switzerland, and specifically on the aspects of soil conditioning during a passage through inhomogeneous soft soils. Most tunnels in the past were drilled using the slurry mode (SM), in which the application of different additives was mainly limited to difficult zones of high permeability and stoppages for tool change and modification. For drillings with the less common earth pressure balanced mode (EPBM), continuous foam conditioning and the additional use of polymer and bentonite have proven to be successful. The use of conditioning additives led to new challenges during separation of the slurries (for SM) and disposal of the excavated soil (for EPBM). If the disposal of chemically treated soft soil material from the earth pressure balanced (EPB) drive in a manner that is compliant with environmental legislation is considered early on in the design and evaluation of the excavation mode, the EPBM can be beneficial for tunnels bored in glacial deposits.

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